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A man fainted after finding the bodies of his wife and three children who had all died in a suspected murder-suicide, said a neighbour.

Police have launched an investigation after Sonia Loja, 36, appeared to have strangled her three kids, aged 12, 10 and five, before killing herself at the family home in Danbury, Connecticut.

The dad, Pedro Panjon had called the police because he had been unable to contact his wife all day on Wednesday and asked if they could check up on them, it is reported.

But before officers got to the house, Mr Panjon had returned and made the horrific discovery, said a neighbour.

The bodies of the three children – Junior Panjon, 12, Joselyn Panjon, 10, and Jonael Panjon, five – were found inside the home and appeared to have died of strangulation while Loja was found in the shed having killed herself.

Sonia Loja was reportedly found hanging in a shed in the garden

Neighbour Elvis Espinal said that Mr Panjon fainted when he made the discovery.

“He called the cops and asked them to do a wellness check and then he came here and he beat the cops here. So he went inside and like a couple minutes later he came out and he called 911 and just fainted to the ground,” neighbour Elvis Espinal told the New York Post.

Espinal said Loja did not show any signs of emotional distress.

“She was even-tempered. My mom even said she never noticed anything abnormal about her,” he said. “She was always nice to me. No attitude or anything. The kids were always very friendly, well-behaved.”

Pedro Panjon made the discovery of the bodies after getting to the house before the police ( NBC New York)

Another neighbour said that the family had been there for around five years and were “quiet”.

He said; “We’d say ‘hi, and wave but they kept to themselves. They had parties on the weekends, picnics. Just family, they kept the yard nice, they built that shed.”

Loja ran a daycare centre out of the family home but called parents and told them not to drop their children off with her on Wednesday, according to reports.

Nube Sucuzhanay, 33, who sent her children to the daycare centre was shocked.

“I can’t believe Sonia did this. I don’t believe what’s happened. Sonia was a good person. She loved and looked after her kids and was good with the kids she looked after.”

Police are investigating what they believe was a murder-suicide ( NBC New York)

She said that Loja had moved from Ecuador about 15 years ago and a vigil was held outside the home where the bodies were found by members of the Ecuadorian community.

Detective Captain Mark Williams, from the City of Danbury Police Department, said in a statement: “Pending an official autopsy, preliminary findings indicate that Ms Loja strangled her three children before killing herself. However, this is still an active investigation.”

Mayor Dean Esposito tweeted: “A truly horrible event occurred in our city yesterday and we mourn the tragic lost of life. Mental health and counselling services will be provided in the coming days through collaboration with the Danbury Public Schools and the City of Danbury.

“Our community grieves for the innocent lives taken from us. We will get through this together.”

The Samaritans is available 24/7 if you need to talk. You can contact them for free by calling 116 123, email or head to the website to find your nearest branch. You matter.

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